NATURAL BRIDGE, a small village of Rockbridge county, Virginia, in the western part of the state, 179 m. by rail W. of Richmond, and about 16 m. S.E. of Lexington, the county-seat. It is served by the Chesapeake & Ohio and the Norfolk & Western railways. In the vicinity of the village, which is about 1500 ft.
above sea-level, is the great natural curiosity from which it derives its name - a bridge of natural rock 90 ft. long and from 5 o to 150 ft. wide, which spans Cedar Creek at a height of 15 ft. above that stream. It consists of horizontal limestone strata, and is the remains of the roof of a cave or underground tunnel through which the creek once flowed. It is crossed by a public road. In the village are magnesia and lithia springs and a saltpetre cave, which was worked during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. A royal grant dated the 5th of July 1774 conveyed to Thomas Jefferson a tract of 157 acres, "including the Natural Bridge on Cedar Creek," and it did not pass from his estate until 1833.
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